Acura Automobiles: 2012 Acura MDX


Since its debut in 2001 (when it promptly won Motor Trend Magazine’s coveted Sport Utility of the Year award), the Acura MDX continues to be one of the best selling mid-sized SUVs— and one of the most benchmarked SUVs by its competitors. However, without resting on its laurels, Acura engineers have continually upgraded the MDX to include more features that better satisfy market desires. For 2010, the MDX got notably better in the form of a new engine and transmission, a revised chassis, more comfort, improved technology and a fresh new exterior look.

The 2012 MDX maintains the core elements that have made it a winner in the eyes of automotive journalists. Still present is strong (yet efficient) V-6 power, Nürburgring tuned suspension, Acura’s acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) system, ACE™ body structure, a luxury interior with room for seven passengers and a cache of advanced features including: Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ and a spectacular 10-speaker Acura/ELS Surround® Premium Audio System. While competitors often charge for every luxury upgrade, the 2012MDX delivers numerous items as standard equipment— such as a power operated tailgate and rearview camera.

The 2012 MDX uses a 3.7L V-6 engine that has a wide power curve, good fuel efficiency and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The MDX delivers a luxury ride combined with outstanding wet and dry weather handling. Ride and handling are even better when the MDX is optioned with the Advance Package that includes (among many items) the Active Damper System.

Externally, the 2012 MDX has a well-tailored look thanks to Acura’s signature front grille design, a bold front fascia with integrated fog lights, stylish side sills, a rear fascia matched with rolled edge polished stainless-steel exhaust finishers, high-tech taillights with LED lights and available 19-inch diameter 7-spoke aluminum wheels.

Inside, the 2012 MDX treats occupants with leather-trimmed seats, a thick sport-style steering wheel with racing-inspired paddle shifters, bold design gauges and available ventilated front seats. In addition, a host of driver relevant technology is available including AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System, Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™, and AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™ with radar image maps. Other available features include a full VGA 8-inch navigation screen, a rear view camera with three unique view choices, rear entertainment system with a full VGA color screen, an audio system with 15 gigabytes of hard disk drive (HDD) space and USB port connectivity.

In keeping with Acura’s leadership in the application of advanced, customer-relevant features, the 2012 MDX is available with a wide array of technologies including Acura’s unique Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and a blind spot information system (BSI).


  • 3.7-liter SOHC, aluminum V-6 engine
  • 300 hp at 6,300 rpm and 270 lbs-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm
  • 11.2:1 compression ratio
  • Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC®) for intake valves
  • Dual-stage induction system with lightweight magnesium intake manifold
  • Computer-controlled Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI)
  • Direct ignition system
  • Detonation/knock control system
  • High-flow, sport-tuned dual exhaust system with dual stainless-steel outlets
  • EPA TIER 2—BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions
  • 100,000-mile tune-up intervals*
  • Estimated 16/21/18 mpg** (city/highway/combined)
  • Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®)

*Based on 2012 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.


  • Unit body structure with extensive use of high-strength steel
  • Fully independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and stabilizer bar
  • Fully independent rear suspension with multi-link control arms and stabilizer bar
  • Torque-sensing, power-assist rack-and-pinion steering
  • 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Vehicle Stability Assist™(VSA®) with traction control and Trailer Stability Assist
  • 18×8-inch 5-spoke aluminum wheels (MDX)
  • 19×8.5-inch 7-spoke aluminum wheels (MDX with Advance Package)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • 5,000-pound tow rating
  • Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) low-beam front headlights
  • LED tail lamps and Center High Mounted Stop Light (CHMSL)
  • Heated outside mirrors with Reverse gear tilt-down and integrated LED directional turn signals


  • 7 passenger seating
  • Power actuated 10-way adjustable driver seat
  • Two-driver custom memory system
  • Power actuated 8-way front passenger seat
  • Heated front seats with available ventilated front seats
  • Steering wheel with racing-inspired transmission paddle shifters, audio controls and MID controls
  • Tri-Zone automatic climate control system with air filtration and humidity control
  • 253-watt Acura Premium Sound System with in-dash 6-disc CD/MP3/WMA changer, AM/FM radio tuner, XM® Radio with Note function music reminder, AUX jack connectivity and 8 speakers including an 8-inch subwoofer
  • HomeLink® remote control
  • Multi-Information Display (MID) allows access to multiple electronic functions
  • Maintenance Minder™
  • Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® wireless telephone interface
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated rear view video screen
  • Electric tilt and telescoping steering column
  • Power operated rear tailgate
  • LED interior lighting

Technology Package

  • Milano premium leather seating surfaces
  • Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™
  • 8-inch full VGA high-resolution color display with LED backlighting
  • Multi-view rear view camera
  • AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™
  • AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™ with radar image maps
  • Interface dial (for quick, intuitive access to navigation, audio and other features)
  • Acura/ELS Surround® premium 10-speaker audio system with DVD-Audio, DTS™, CD, AM/FM radio, XM® Radio with Note function music reminder, Bluetooth® Audio, 15 GB of hard disk drive (HDD) media storage space, USB port and AUX jack connectivity, Song By Voice™(SBV), Dolby Pro Logic II and a 410-watt Digital Signal Processing (DSP) amplifier
  • GPS-linked, solar-sensing, tri-zone, automatic climate control system with air filtration and humidity control

Advance Package (in addition to the Technology Package features)

  • Blind spot information system (BSI)
  • Collision Mitigating Braking System™ (CMBS™)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Exclusive design19x8.5-inch 7-spoke aluminum wheels
  • Active Damper System (ADS)
  • Perforated Milano premium full-grain leather front seating surfaces with high-damping front-seat cushion foam and contrasting stitching
  • Ventilated front seats (in addition to heat)
  • Steering wheel with unique colored paddle shifters
  • Auto-leveling headlights

Entertainment Package (available with Technology or Advance Package)

  • Rear Entertainment System (RES) with motorized full VGA color screen, DVD player, wireless headphones, remote control and AUX jack connectivity
  • 115-volt power outlet located in the center console
  • Heated second-row seats (for outboard seating positions)


  • Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure
  • Impact-absorbing crumple zones (front/rear)
  • Side impact door beams
  • Driver and front passenger dual-stage, multiple-threshold airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS)
  • Driver and front passenger side airbags with front passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS)
  • Side curtain airbags for all three rows (outboard seats) with rollover sensor
  • Driver and front passenger knee bolsters
  • Active head restraints for front seats
  • 3-point adjustable-height front seat belts with Emergency Locking Retractors
  • Automatic Locking Retractor for all seating positions except driver seat
  • 3-point seat belts for all seating positions
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child-seat mounting system for the second-row seats


MDX has been very important to Acura, accounting for about 36-percent of the division’s overall sales. The original MDX attracted buyers from competitive luxury makes including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, who started new relationships for Acura. The 2012 MDX competes at the top of its class that is defined as the Mid Premium CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle) segment.


Focus groups with customers shopping in the luxury market were conducted around the United States with an increased focus in Seattle, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles. These cities were carefully chosen to explore how customers use their SUVs in cold climates, in areas that are traditional domestic-vehicle strongholds and in areas known for their trend-setting character.

Early in the study process Acura also benchmarked performance SUVs such as the BMW X5 – and polled X5 owners – to ensure that the MDX would exceed the performance of its competitors. Satisfying these highly discriminating customers means that the MDX would be well positioned to attract a wider group of potential buyers.

With the MDX, added performance and handling capabilities boost its appeal for performance enthusiasts, while the luxurious and functional interior continues to satisfy the needs of traditional luxury customers.


The 2012 MDX uses a 3.7-liter VTEC® V-6 engine that continues Acura’s longstanding mission to provide V-8 level horsepower and torque while retaining the size and fuel efficiency of a V-6. The MDX’s 3.7L engine develops 300 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque along with providing excellent acceleration response, outstanding low- and mid-range torque and exciting high-rpm power. To widen the powerband while simultaneously improving fuel efficiency, the 3.7-liter engine has a 2-rocker arm design VTEC® (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system applied to the intake valves, a computer controlled dual-stage intake manifold and an electronic Drive-by-Wire™ throttle system.

EPA estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy of 16/21/18 mpg and a large 21-gallon fuel capacity mean the MDX has a long cruising range. The MDX complies with the latest EPA TIER 2 – BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standards. Performance and fuel economy benefit from the MDX’s 6-speed automatic transmission, and the transmission’s quick-response Sequential SportShift function is designed to satisfy the most discerning enthusiast drivers.

Originally tuned on the famed Nürburgring circuit in Germany, the MDX’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®) system provides handling precision that sets a benchmark for SUVs. SH-AWD® uses torque vectoring to actively vary the distribution of power between the front and rear axles (as well as between the left and right rear wheels) to provide maximum power delivery under all driving circumstances. In addition to the torque vectoring, SH-AWD® overdrives the outside rear wheel up to 1.7 percent faster than the front wheels to create a “yaw moment” that helps the MDX to better rotate around a corner— thus minimizing understeer.


The 2012 MDX sets high standards for SUV styling, engineering, handling and safety standpoints. Its dramatic exterior styling utilizes large surface areas, sweeping curves and decisive angles. Aggressive front and rear fascias, Acura’s signature front grille, tastefully integrated side sills, rolled edge polished stainless-steel exhaust finishers and taillights with bright LED lights further increase the MDX’s visual attitude.

In an effort to keep mass out of the vehicle, the MDX features widespread use of light weight materials such as aluminum , magnesium and high-strength steel. In addition, the Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure delivers outstanding levels of front crash safety for the MDX.

The MDX is equipped with numerous high end appointments such as Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) low-beam front headlights, a dramatic array of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) in the rear tail lamps and center high-mounted stop light (CHMSL) and exterior mirror-mounted turn signals. Careful aerodynamic tailoring reduces aerodynamic drag noise and high speed dynamic stability.

The 2012 MDX features a track-tuned chassis to complement its 3.7L V-6 engine and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD®). Engineers targeted the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne when developing the MDX chassis, and then tested and refined it at Germany’s famed Nürburgring road course. The available Active Damper System features real-time shock adjustments (in less than five milliseconds) ¬to continually adjust for varying road conditions. The Active Damper System uses highly sophisticated Magneto-Rheological design dampers and specific computer algorithms to quickly and continuously adapt to changes in the road surface. The MDX is also at home off-road where its SH-AWD®, responsive suspension and generous ground clearance enable it to traverse through rough terrain.

For family recreation, the MDX tows as well as it goes. With a 5,000-pound tow rating, standard trailer pre-wiring, high-capacity radiator with twin cooling fans, transmission fluid cooler and Trailer Stability Assist, the 2012 MDX needs only a dealer-installed hitch and wiring harness to tow a trailer. In addition to offering a Class III tow hitch assembly, Acura Genuine Accessories offers dozens of other useful items for those who regularly tow, haul, or travel.


The MDX features a luxurious yet functional interior. The cockpit environment is focused on the driver, and features a host of technologies to make driving simultaneously rewarding and relaxing. The interior styling and functionality perfectly coexist with a driver’s cockpit that features a power actuated 10-way seat including power-adjustable lumbar support for the driver, electronic tilt and telescoping steering column, a custom preset memory system for two different drivers, and a Multi-Information Display (MID) that allows access to multiple electronic functions.

The interior design is as dynamic and contemporary as the exterior, with a “4+3 seating” concept that luxuriously hosts four passengers in the first and second row seats, while also offering comfortable accommodations for three additional passengers (one in the second row and two in the third row). The front passenger enjoys a power actuated 8-way power seat, while everyone on board will appreciate the MDX’s Tri-Zone automatic climate control system.

MDX occupants will enjoy the standard 253-watt, 8-speaker Acura Premium Audio System with in-dash 6-disc CD/MP3/WMA changer, AM/FM tuner and XM® Radio. An auxiliary jack for the connection of personal audio devices is also included. Standard convenience features include HomeLink®, Maintenance Minder™ and adaptive and flexible cargo space with six configurations.

All 2012 MDX models come standard with a rear view camera. The MDX displays the rearview image within the auto-dimming rearview mirror via an integrated video screen, while an MDX with available Technology Package and/or Advance Package displays multi-view camera information on the full VGA color navigation screen. When equipped with the Advance Package, a blind spot information system (BSI) can detect other vehicles when they are located in the blind spot of the MDX driver.


The Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, along with several passive safety technologies, helps the 2012 MDX to deliver excellent crash protection. ACE™ more evenly distributes collision forces and helps maintain the integrity of the passenger cabin in the event of a severe frontal collision. Thanks to ACE™, the MDX is also less intrusive to smaller vehicles in a head-on collision due to a special frame member located below the front bumper that is designed to engage the front bumper of smaller vehicles.

The MDX front seats are equipped with active-style head restraints and knee bolsters are standard for the driver and front passenger. The driver and front passenger are also protected by dual-stage, multiple-threshold airbag Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) along with side airbags with front passenger Occupant Position Detection System (OPDS). Side curtain airbags help reduce the likelihood of injury to the occupants in all three rows of outboard seats.
The 2012 MDX furthers Acura’s commitment to “Safety Through Innovation” with numerous pedestrian injury mitigation features such as a deformable aluminum hood and hood hinges, along with breakaway windshield-wiper pivots.


Honda of Canada Manufacturing in Alliston, Ontario, is the assembly plant for the MDX. A special dynamic quality-control process is employed to ensure the highest possible level of attention to detail for every MDX produced. After assembly is completed, each MDX enters a special Acura Quality line. The ability to immediately respond to the smallest issue allows the MDX to excel in quality and excel in customer satisfaction.

Acura’s commitment to preserving the environment continues with the MDX via reduction of the use of metals such as chromium and lead, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polyvinyl chlorides (PVC). In the MDX manufacturing facility, a dedicated line separates different manufacturing scrap materials for recycling. In addition, the MDX is the first Acura vehicle to use a mercury-free navigation system display screen.

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